Focusing on next Flatstock and other US events, it has been a while since last "other than US" interview has been published. But gere at CrewKoos we do not forget our goal to highlight the international poster scene, this is the reason why it is a great pleasure to welcome Ivan today. Following Idlebeats and promoter Abby Lavin, he is a new proof of chinese scene dynamism....
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Currently, Mastodon’s new album, The Hunter. Been listening to it on repeat all day.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
25 years old, from New Jersey, moved to Shanghai about 3 and a half years ago. I’ve got 2 bands, I’m working on a solo project, and I draw pictures, sometimes even in exchange for money. And I play D&D on Monday nights. I’m a warlock.
When did you start drawing?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love to draw. My dad got me into comics as a kid, and drawing superheroes helped me a lot in terms of understanding human anatomy and visualizing how the body moves.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
A bit of both, but I definitely learned a lot more by doodling in class and in my spare time than I did in any art class.
I’m still a nine-to-fiver. I was working for a local street fashion label a while back, but it didn’t really leave me any creative energy for my personal work. I’d love to be able to support myself by drawing all day, though. One of these days…
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
A bit. A local music and arts website, Shanghai247, just launched a biweekly print newsletter – they’ve got me drawing a comic for each issue. Other than that, it’s mostly posters with some album art mixed in from time to time.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
I still consider comics to be my biggest influence. Leinil Francis Yu’s Wolverine and Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man stand out as my favorites. And anything Jim Lee ever touched was never less then godly.
Outside comics, I’ve gotta nod to Stephen Gammell. His drawings in those Scary Stories books always captivated me far more than the stories themselves. And I also owe a lot to Hyung-Tae Kim, especially in terms of his work on War of Genesis III. In seventh grade, I worked on an RPG trilogy with my friend Jaemin – he created the stories and I drew all the characters. Character design for an RPG is quite high on the list of dream projects I hope to one day have the chance to undertake.
In terms of contemporary artists, Benny Gold does some outstanding work with lettering and logos. And then, there’s Godmachine.
If time allows, I prefer to sit on a new project for a few days to work through ideas in my head. I’ve never really been someone to sketch things out or do multiple drafts – rather, I’ll come up with an image and then, to the best of my ability, put it down on paper.
In most cases, I’ll first do a basic pencil drawing, then go over everything with a thin pen – just a regular old convenience-store pen, nothing special. I think that comes from doing all my drawing on the side growing up. After that I redo the outlines and heavier lines with fatter pens or markers, and shade with the initial thin pen. Finally, it’s scanned and then vectorized and colored in Illustrator.
I used to just do everything in pencil and really get into blending the shading…I should get back to that.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Depends. If the complete idea comes to me at once, I can get it done in a day or two. Otherwise, it could take a while to cultivate a concept and the appropriate lettering styles. I prefer to hand-draw the lettering, but if I’m pressed for time, I’ll resort to DaFont.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
Do I? I bet you say that to all the girls. As for the horses, I’d give it a try, but I’d make no guarantees on the quality of the results.
For which band have you already worked for?
Recently it’s been lots of Shanghai-based bands – mostly friends, with a few exceptions for people who are referred to me.
I’m working towards launching a hand-printed streetwear label soon, called Twin Horizon, and our first line, Shanghai DIY, comprises 5 designs inspired by Shanghai-based bands.
For which band would you love to work?
Any band that trusts me enough to let me draw whatever comes to mind while listening to their music is a band with whom I’ll gladly work. And also Tool.
I don’t think this applies to me.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?
For me, it’s incorporating the lettering and all the gig information into the illustration. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’ve got the drawing in my head long before the words even enter the equation, and then I’m made to deal with fitting them around it wherever there’s room.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
If there is a graphics or arts scene in Shanghai, I’m well outside its bounds.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
Interested parties may venture on over to www.twinhorizon.com. I upload all my posters there, and soon, you’ll be able to buy shirts from our Twin Horizon label.
The best praise you received lately?
“I like it” usually does me pretty good. Can’t really ask for more than for someone to appreciate your work. I imagine selling some of our shirts will also provide lots of warm fuzzies.
What can we wish you for the future?